Monday, August 10, 2020

Northeast Health District Adds 82 COVID-19 Cases But No Deaths; Seven-Day Rolling Averages Stable

***Schools Report No COVID-19 Cases After Opening***

The Northeast Health District added 82 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday with the release of the Daily Status Report of the Department of Public Health, resulting in a seven-day rolling average of added cases basically unchanged from Sunday.

The 10-county District did not add any deaths, as had been the case a week ago, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths remained unchanged at 1.7.

Every county in the District added at least two COVID-19 cases on Monday, with Oconee County adding four cases and Clarke County adding 34. The seven-day rolling average was 150.6, compared with 151.0 on Sunday.

The Department of Community Health Long-Term Care Facility Report for Monday included one new death and 11 new cases of COVID-19 among residents of area long-term care facilities.

Nine of those new cases were at University Nursing and Rehab Center and the other two were at Pruitt Health Grandview, two nursing homes in Athens-Clarke County. The death was at a nursing home in Greene County.

The Department of Community Health report also added six COVID-19 staff cases among the 33 long-term care facilities in the District, two of them at University Nursing and Rehab Center and four at a nursing home in Greene County.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported late on Monday that area hospitals had 10 Critical Care Beds available, up from seven on Saturday and Sunday. The hospitals file those data for a noon deadline on the day of the report.

Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, director of Communications for Oconee County Schools, reported on Monday morning that no COVID-19 cases had been identified after the first three days of school last week and no new cases of the disease had been reported to the Georgia High School Association after athletic practices started in June.

An analysis of pictures Jimenez took of students, administrators, faculty and staff on the first two days of school last week and posted to Facebook shows a high level of compliance with the request that all wear masks at school.

Picture Analysis

Oconee County Schools opened last week with the request that students and all others in the buildings wear masks, but masks were not required.

Click To Enlarge

Jimenez told me in an email message on Monday morning that “We have not conducted an analysis of mask usage.”

Jimenez posted more than 230 pictures on Facebook at the end of last week from the visits that Superintendent Jason Branch made to all 11 of the county’s schools on Wednesday and Thursday. The visits are a tradition for Branch, Jimenez said. 

Jimenez told me in an email message on Monday morning that she had not edited the pictures in any way that would make them unrepresentative of student mask wearing during the visits. She did caution that the first days of school are not typical.

I examined at all of the pictures on Sunday and, for each, counted the number of persons in the picture for whom it was possible to determine if a mask was being worn.

I subsequently eliminated pictures taken outside or in the cafeteria. It isn’t possible to eat through a mask.

In the end, I had 654 images of students and 200 images of administrators, faculty or staff. (Branch appeared in many of the pictures.)

Of the students pictured, 90.5 percent were wearing a mask. Of the administrators, faculty and staff, 99.0 percent (all but two) were wearing a mask.

Jimenez told me that she and Branch visited the elementary schools on Aug. 5 and the two middle schools and two high schools on Aug. 6.

I could see that Branch wore a yellow tie on Aug. 5 and a red tie on Aug. 6 and divide the pictures (not all of which included students) that way.

Of the 465 elementary students, 92.0 percent were wearing a mask, while of the 189 middle and high school students, 86.8 percent were wearing a mask.

State Data

The Department of Public Health reported on Monday that the state had 2,440 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the seven-day rolling average of added cases increased to 3411.3 from 3,387.1 on Sunday.

The Department of Public Health added 32 new deaths, and the seven-day rolling average of added deaths increased to 56.6, a new record high going back to the outbreak of the disease in March, from 52.3 on Sunday.

The Department of Public Health actually eliminated five cases from its file, and it dated one of the new cases as far back as March 20.

Twenty of the 32 new cases occurred in the last 14 days.

The Department of Community Health reported that 615 of the state’s 790 long-term care facilities have had COVID-19 among its residents and/or staff, up from 613 when the last report was issued on Aug. 7.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported 2,871 Current Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations, down from 2,878 on Sunday.

The number of ventilators in use increased to 1,246 on Monday from 1,202 on Sunday, according to the Agency report.

Local Statement

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell joined other local governmental leaders, including Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, in a statement about area hospitals on Monday. 

The group said it had held a conference call with area hospital administrators on Sunday.

“Our local hospitals remain in a similar situation as our most recent update--stable, yet very busy,” the statement said.

“Our healthcare providers have been working long days for weeks and months on end, and it remains a difficult situation. That said, they remain stable and able to care for our community.

“Throughout this pandemic and including the last several weeks and days, our hospitals are assisting other parts of the state as requested and taking transfer patients,” according to the statement. “They continue to have the capacity to handle our service region while doing so.

“Both hospitals are part of larger healthcare systems, which also provides further support as needed,” the statement read. “Surge plans continue to be ready as necessary.”

Others who signed the statement were Winterville Mayor Dodd Ferrelle, state Senators Bill Cowsert and Frank Ginn, and state Representatives Spencer Frye, Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower.


Charts 1 to 4 below are based on data from the Department of Public Health Daily Status Report and have been updated to include data from the release of that report at 2:50 p.m. on Monday.

Charts 1 and 2 include data from the 10-county Northeast Health District of the Department of Public Health, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties.

Charts 3 and 4 show data for the entire state of Georgia.

Click on any of the charts to enlarge it.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

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